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South West Governors: Politics, External Influence will Not Divide Us

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  • South West Governors: Politics, External Influence will Not Divide Us

State governors in-the South-western geo-political zone in Nigeria have resolved to forge a common front at regional integration by jointly staving off external influences capable of stifling the region’s economic and social interests.

Irrespective of their political affiliations, the governors said they have decided to be their brother’s keeper by promoting common programmes and projects capable of enhancing the human capital development of the region.

This was one of the highlights of the meeting of the governors’ economic forum, hosted yesterday by the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at the Executive Council Chambers, in Ibadan.

The governors mulled the need to introduce uniform tariffs on commodities, while agreeing on the need to seek areas of cooperation in agriculture, transportation, rail system, sports and other areas of common interest.

Other governors at the meeting were Mr. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State; Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State; Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Mr. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, while Secretary to Ondo State Government, Mr. Rotimi Adelola, represented Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.

In his welcome address, Ajimobi said the attendance of the governors signposted the high importance they paid to the common challenges besetting the zone, part of which he said was the difficulties in the prompt payment of workers’ salaries and pensions.

Ajimobi said: “Your presence at this meeting is a clear testimony of the importance you all have attached to the common challenges confronting us as a people. Today, our country is buffeted by economic and political challenges.

“Several states are struggling to pay basic salaries with arrears running into several months; manufacturers struggling to access foreign exchange for raw material and companies are shutting down leading to mass redundancy of our people.

“Unfortunately most of these people are resident in the South-west region, which is the industrial base of the country. We need to quickly explore escape routes from poverty through empowerment and equipping of our youths with requisite skills.

“We must also seek common path of boosting agriculture as well as dealing with security challenges that have pervaded the country. We must seek a way out of the biting hardship in the land.”

The governor expressed optimism that the outcome of the meeting, which he said was an economic forum, would lead to steps that would impact positively on the social and economic development of the people.

A communiqué read at the end of the meeting by Fayose said the forum reiterated the need to use regional integration to create economic relief for the people of the South-west in the face of the pervading economic recession.

Fayose stressed that the conversation dwelt on pragmatic steps necessary to be taken to enhance the development of the region and to proffer the surest way to put food on the table of the common people.

Regardless of their political differences, he said the governors were more concerned about their relations by the force of history and geographical location, the unity of which, he said, the regions forebears fought for and defended.

Fayose said: “All states, including Ekiti, have subscribed to and agreed that regional integration is the best way forward. We must do everything humanly possible not to go back on our resolves. It is forward for the people and for the Yoruba race.

“We agreed that the next meeting, which holds in the next two months, would be held in Ekiti State.”

He said the meeting was unanimous in its resolve to strengthen the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN Commission) and the Odua conglomerate to foster regional integration and development.

Fayose said the managers of both pan-Yoruba organisations have been admonished to remain apolitical and to play a neutral role in their relationship with the owner states.

Earlier, the governor had told the forum to examine issues of common concern and learn from models that had worked for one state, with a view to replicating them for the common good of the people.

For instance, Fayose disclosed that the grazing regulation Law just passed in Ekiti had restored sanity to the land, adding that others could take a queue from the Law in order to protect farmers from avoidable losses occasioned by destruction of farm lands by straying cattle.

Aregbesola pleaded with his colleagues to take advantage of the remaining period of their tenure by ensuring that they redoubled their efforts to ensure the survival and prosperity of the people of the region.

Amosun also restated the need for the governors to shed their political differences by walking in the footsteps of the region’s nationalists and torchbearers, stressing that the unity of the region would be its strength.

He noted that the political differences of the governors of the region should not be a hindrance to exploring the economic possibilities in each state using comparative advantages as measuring index.

Ambode reminded his colleagues that the touted prosperity of Lagos State could only be sustained by the prosperity of its neighbour states.

He said he was committed to the improvement in the revenue base of the South-west such that a rail system would make it possible for people to work in Lagos State and live in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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Government

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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